Jai Shailaputri Maa, The First day of Navratri
The Mother Divine manifests herself in nine different forms with each form signifying something subtle and deep. Discover the hidden meanings of the nine goddesses or the Nav Durga. The first Manifested form is known as Shailputri.
The first name of Goddess Durga is Shailaputri. Shaila means the peak.
How have the scriptures called Goddess Durga as the daughter of the peak?
We usually think this means that the Goddess is the daughter of Mount Kailasa, but this is a very basic or lower level of understanding. On the path of Yoga, this means the highest peak or the highest level of consciousness.
This is very interesting – when the energy is at its peak, only then can you notice and recognize it. Only then can you understand and experience the pure consciousness – the Devi. Before it reaches its peak you cannot understand it, because it is born out of the peak.
Here the peak is the peak of any experience, or any intense feeling. If you are 100% angry, then just see how that anger consumes your whole body. Often we do not express our anger fully. Just see, when you are 100% in anger, when you become that anger so fully, you will also come out of it very soon. When you are 100% in anything that consumes your whole being, that is when Goddess Durga is really born. When you are totally 100% consumed in anger, then you will experience such a surge of energy and at the same time you will instantly find yourself coming out of that anger also.
Have you seen how children behave? Whatever they do, they do it 100%. If they are angry, they are angry 100% in that moment and then immediately they also drop that anger after just a few minutes. They do not get tired even if they get angry. But as an adult if you get angry, then it tires you. Why is it so? It is because you do not express your anger 100%. Now, this does not mean that you go around being angry all the time. Then you will also have to face the trouble that anger brings along.
When you reach the peak of any experience or feeling, you experience the emergence of the Divine consciousness, because it always surges from that peak. This is the hidden meaning behind Shailaputri.
The importance of fasting during Navratri
Navratri is that time of the year that is rich with colors, tradition, songs and dance. It is also a very sacred time, especially for a spiritual seeker. It is a time when we withdraw from the world of senses and rest through spiritual techniques to uncover the potential for greater bliss, joy and enthusiasm in our lives.
This movement from the outer to the inner can happen effortlessly only when the quality of sattva rises in us and fasting is one of the ways to increase the sattva level in us.
Benefits of fasting during Navratris
Ayurveda, or the traditional Indian system of medicine, considers fasting as an effective way to rekindle the digestive fire or hunger. Usually, most of us don’t wait to feel hungry. Hunger is the way our body indicates that it is prepared to digest food. Eating even before feeling hungry weakens the digestive system, which in turn leads to stress and a poor immunity level. Fasting increases our digestive fire and this fire burns the lethargy and dullness in the body that comes through excessive eating. That is why after fasting you feel so fresh and light because every cell of our body comes alive. Fasting is a great therapy to cleanse our body.
The benefits of fasting are not only seen on the physical level but have a positive effect on the mind and emotions as well. The body is intimately connected with the mind and the mind with the emotions. When the body is purified through fasting, the mind is also purified. The mind becomes calm, clear and peaceful.